October 7th, 2007


Housing Works doesn't work for me

You'll recall I went to the Housing Works street fair last week, and was looking for a sign I shouldn't get more books, since I already have a ridiculous amount. I got that sign today.

This weekend the Housing Works bookstore was having a 30% off sale. I wasn't sure of their regular prices (I was only in the store once, for a BookCrossing meeting), but this seemed worth checking out. Except for the fact I have too many books.

The store is open until 7 pm. Yesterday, I couldn't get it together to get there in time. Today, I was also running late but figured if I limited my shopping time, I wouldn't go crazy. Also, there was the physical limitation of what I could carry (I was prepared to take a cab home).

I got to the bookstore around 5:30 this afternoon, armed with some tote bags within a tote bag to help carry. As many of you have seen, my regular purse is a soft attache which I wear on my shoulder (I still haven't replaced it with the nicer tote I recently bought). When I entered the store, I was asked to check my tote bags (understandable) as well as my purse (whaa? It's not THAT big).

I did not want to leave my personal items and valuables behind, so began removing them - lists of books wanted (13 pages) and books already owned (19 pages) which I needed in order to shop; wallet containing $92, receipts, IDs, and a $95 theater ticket; change purse with a broken zipper containing 15 coins; 2 Metrocards and a New York Times employee ID; a card holder with more IDs such as insurance and museum memberships; keys.

Emptying all this out, I realized I'd need, well, a bag to cart it around. I would not be able to consult the lists and juggle all these loose items, especially since the coins could easily fall out of the change purse. It would be easy to lose these things as well as my keys if I had to carry them around along with the books I would be buying.

So I said, "Forget it" and left. The women at the counter suggested I leave the valuables in the bag and come back if I needed them (like, to pay). My response: "If you don't trust me, I don't trust you." (They would not accept a $20 bribe to let me keep my purse with me.)

So Housing Works has lost out on my business. Not only today, but in the future. I was seriously considering becoming a member. Forget that. And I buy lots of books. But not from them. In addition, I might have donated my 1000+ book collection to them eventually, but no more.

I realized on the train coming home that I had the exact same bag with me when I previously went to the store in June, 2005, and was allowed to bring it in. Of course, I did not steal anything then, and I would not now. Or ever.

Their loss.

(I told them this in a letter.)

It's always the little things

The West Bend model 40005X timer/stopwatch I bought before Stamford is suddenly showing the letter C and 1:00:00 as a default display. Replacing the battery doesn't change this, and the manual is no help. I wrote the company, so we'll see if they have a clue.

I'm wearing the first new prescription today. You know, it's not that bad. Oy. I haven't done much reading though, and I probably won't like that. I have a headache, but it may be from the stress of the bag check incident earlier. Or because I haven't eaten today.

Today some newspapers printed NEXT week's NYT puzzle in syndication instead of the one from a week ago. It's unclear how that could have happened. I asked my mother to check the Miami Herald and they have the puzzle from 2 weeks ago; I don't know if they normally run on a 2-week delay. And it's by "David Levinson" without the Wilk. It's maddening to make sure everything is just right, and then have it made wrong by individual papers. Some leave off bylines entirely. Or don't italicize italicized clues, rendering a theme meaningless. I also remember a clue with an intentional typo to define TYPO or ERROR, and some brilliant copy editors corrected it.

I'm almost caught up on "Merv Griffin's Crosswords" viewing. "Uh-oh, here comes trouble!" Maybe the spoilers should arrive in a cloud of black smoke. There are always a few "Huh?" or "Eww" or "This could be a lot of things" clues but I didn't note them. More care needs to be taken in the order the clues are given and how much is showing, especially on the Crossword Extras. Don't expect people to get a 9-letter punny answer with nothing filled in. And contestants need to think more about how to navigate the final puzzle for maximum efficiency.

I watched another DCC. The dragon ladies in charge cut a girl for being too fat to properly wear the sacred uniform (2 hankies and some fringe). She was not heavy by any normal standard. What's heavy is everyone's makeup; I'm surprised their faces don't all melt. And still I tune in.